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Dark data center

A data center designed to operate without human intervention, in all but exceptional circumstances.

Dark data centers automate many of the tasks that would typically require human intervention — and therefore don’t need lighting. This saves on lighting and staffing costs.

What is it?

A fully automated data center that doesn’t need day-to-day staffing or lighting.

What’s in it for you?

The reduction in staffing and lighting can save costs. You may also gain flexibility through not needing to site the buildings near populated areas.

What are the trade-offs?

The risks of having no human oversight of data operations are too high for many enterprises.

How is it being used?

Fully autonomous data centers are a step too far for most organizations today.

What is it?


A fully automated data center, where the infrastructure is accessed and managed remotely. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘lights out’ data center.


Because people are not needed, you reduce both staffing and lighting costs.


Since there are virtually no people going in and out of the data center, it provides more flexibility for the site choice. 


But to achieve this, you would need to be able to manage and provision hardware, software and networking remotely.

What’s in for you?


By reducing your staffing and lighting costs, dark data centers may be more cost effective. And the freedom to site them away from population centers may also make them less costly — and potentially reduce the risk of break ins.

What are the trade offs?


The biggest risk with dark data centers is what happens when something goes wrong. This is particularly true if your center is situated in a remote location — getting people there to resolve issues can be problematic. 


Having robust failover systems in place can lessen this risk — but the associated costs will impact the savings you can realize through going dark.

How is it being used?


To achieve a completely dark data center, your hardware, software and networks need to be autonomous. The majority of today’s companies still require human oversight for some data center operations. Some companies have made progress to so-called ‘dim data centers’. These are highly automated sites but require some staff to operate.

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